SPEARFISH, S.D. (KOTA TV) - With a moose sighting in Custer State Park and a wolf spotted near Sturgis, uncommon wildlife seem to be popping up all around the Black Hills lately. Now, a Northern Hills neighborhood is seeing black bears.
Uncommon wildlife is popping up all over the Black Hills as a bear is spotted in this Spearfish neighborhood. (KOTA TV)
These creatures are not native to the state, but staff from South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks says their trail cameras confirmed several bear sightings.
They spotted some in the Mountain Plains subdivision in Spearfish. We talked with neighbors and some say they're frightened about potentially coming across a bear, but others aren't as concerned.
"The bear sightings haven't worried me that much because my mom taught me if I see a bear then go inside and tell her," says Mountain Plains Neighbor Jarek Albonico.
Conservation officers say the bears might be traveling from Wyoming or Minnesota. No matter where they come from, officers want to minimize the number of bear-human interactions as their primary concern is safety.
"Our other concern, of course, is that once a bear becomes accustomed to trash or humans as its source of food that's when they can be deemed as what our department would call a problem bear, which would then require some action on our part whether that would be relocation or potentially more," says SDGF&P Wildlife Conservation Officer Josh Thompson.
Thompson says there are several steps you can take to help prevent these furry creatures from wandering into your yard.
"If we're having bear sightings, we recommend they leave their trash locked up or inside until about the day of or the night before the trash comes. Of course, there are other protective measures someone can take for their garbage can to lock it up as far as, I think stores like Cabella's would sell bear-proof coolers and stuff like that," says Thompson.
If you see a bear in your neighborhood, conservation officers recommend calling Game, Fish, and Parks to inspect the situation.